Home > Notes > Juan Dominguez – Red CPA

Juan Dominguez – Red CPA

Juan Dominguez is the Founder and CEO of Red CPA Adtelligence, an online ad network and advertising optimization software developer. In 1999 he founded Viajar.com, which went on to become the second largest online travel agency in Spain until its sale in 2007; at the same time he was VP of content, portal and ecommerce in Ya.com, a Spanish portal that we sold in 2001 to Deutsche Telekom and later to Orange.

Here are the notes.


Background

  • Juan worked in the airline industry for many years, at one of the largest airline ticket distributing companies

Light Bulb Moment

  • in 1997, online travel agencies were taking off in the US
  • Juan felt he could run an online travel agency in Spain, due to his airline background and having access to the same technology
  • he began to plan his business, even though he wasn’t sure if there even was a market for this business in Spain; he still knew it would take off
  • he based his assumptions off the success in the US, him knowing the technology, and the overall internet hype at the time, even in Spain; everyone wanted to invest in an internet company

Viajar: Initial Plans & Visions

  • the vision was to be an online travel agency that would sell airline tickets
  • Juan wrote a business plan that showed him having 15% of the total market share for airline ticket distribution in Spain; the plan showed him becoming a billionaire in a couple of years
  • he had no idea who his consumer base was or how to get them; he just made assumptions
  • all Juan really had was airline connections and a plan

Funding

  • Juan started looking for funding and made a call to a friend that had connections and explained his plan to him
  • his friend told him to join Ya.com and build the business inside of Ya.com

Ya.com

  • Juan joined Ya.com; Ya.com got ownership of Viajar, and Juan became a founding partner since it was only established 3 months before he joined
  • he only received 0.5% of the company
  • he partnered because he didn’t want to chase people around for investments, and he felt this was the best way to see his vision built right
  • when he joined, Ya.com was just a bunch of different portals for different ideas
  • each portal had its own domain name and was run separately
  • his initial job was to run Viajar but he was soon promoted to Director of eCommerce at Ya.com

Launching Viajar

  • it took 7 months to lauch Viajar
  • the process was very manual in the beginning but looked automated on the to customers
  • automation was the goal, they took steps on getting there and was fully automated after a year
  • in there first year they only sold 400,000 euros worth of airline tickets
  • that number grew to 8 million euros in the second year and kept growing

Selling Ya.com

  • they sold Ya.com in 2001 for 550 millions euros, right before the market crash
  • Juan still had to stay and work there for 2 more years after the sale
  • he gained more responsibility to where he had to run all portals

Attempt To Buy Back Viajar

  • Juan stayed for 5 years because Viajar was his love, his first project
  • he wanted to see the site all the way thru, so he wanted to buy it back
  • he started looking for VC’s, found one that agreed on buying it back and Juan’s bosses were ready to sell
  • he only had an agreement with the VC, no contract
  • at the last minute, the VC backed out and left Juan to explain to his bosses
  • his bosses were upset, but they couldn’t fire him yet because he was too valuable to the company
  • after his failed attempt, his bosses stopped investing in Viajar and sold it, and then Juan left

Red CPA

  • Jaun’s new company is Red CPA, he started it a short while after he quit work on Viajar
  • Red CPA is an online ad network for the finance industry in Spain
  • he already had established relationships with the biggest banks in Spain; they needed someone to build a product for them and Juan did
  • he and his partner raised 500,000 euros for Red CPA; 125,000 euros of their own, and every now and then they have to make loans to the company

Entrepreneurship Atmosphere in Spain (In Juan’s Words)

  • there are no real VC’s in Spain, because they don’t want to invest in startup ventures due to the risks
  • VC’s will ask for a substantial amount of equity for minimal funding
  • in order to be a successful entrepreneur in Spain, you either need to have money already, or be very lucky
  • their isn’t much of a tech market in Spain

Side Notes

  • after sale of Ya.com, Juan was paid in stock, and the value of his shares went down 60%
  • it was hard to live through his failed attempt at buying Viajar, because of shame and at the same time his workload increased
  • when Juan first joined Ya.com, he was more concerned about seeing his plan materialize than making money, now his entrepreneurial motivation is money
  • he has another travel related startup in the works

Connect With Juan

Red CPA

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  1. wu
    March 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Amo esta historia.

  2. Domingo
    March 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    love the site and the notes on mi amigo

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